Book Reviews

Blog Tour: The Earl She Should Never Desire by Lara Temple

I’m a big fan of Lara Temple’s historical romances, so I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Earl She Should Never Desire!

Book: The Earl She Should Never Desire by Lara Temple

Publication date: 28th April 2022

Ownership: E-ARC sent free of charge via Rachel’s Random Resources. All opinions my own.

Content warnings: PTSD/anxiety attacks, on page; death of a child (before the book starts, but parental grief on page); parental emotional abuse/favouritism (several on-page examples).

The Earl She Should Never Desire

This very handsome earl…
Is the one man she cannot fall for…
War widow Lily Walsh has left her aristocratic family behind, but she can’t deny her younger sister’s request to come to London to meet her fiancé. Though not a love match, Lord Sherborne is kind, amusing and ideal for her sister on paper. But as Lily gets to know him, she’s finding him alarmingly attractive! And the forbidden look in the earl’s eye shows the feeling is mutual…

I’m a big fan of stories where one of the leads is betrothed to or courting the other lead’s sibling, but the attraction between them is simply too much to bear. Like accidental compromises, this would be absolutely no fun in the real world, but as a historical romance trope, it just makes for some really delicious drama and pining! It’s also usually a guarantee that you’re going to get some very interesting family relationships, and The Earl She Should Never Desire excels on both fronts. Add to that the unusual tweak that the sibling conflict is actually dealt with pretty early on, and it means that you get a book that includes a great trope without rehashing the same old ground; instead, there’s genuine space for love to grow between Lily and Marcus, which made it really satisfying!

I loved both main characters here from the get-go. Lily is a wonderful heroine; she’s a little older than the norm for historical romance, and she has more life experience than most, having been married and widowed young, so she has a straight-talking, sensible attitude that sets her apart from sheltered debutantes and makes her very entertaining to read about. Marcus is just lovely! We’re first introduced to him through Lily’s sister’s description of him as “nice” and “kind” and although that seems very lukewarm praise (to Lily and the reader), it is genuinely true: he’s just a really, really decent guy. Although he has a whimsical side, which is lovely, he also just feels rock-solid and supportive, which is exactly what Lily needs.

One of the things I really like about Lara Temple’s writing is that she always manages to balance intense emotional arcs with just enough light-heartedness to keep things fun; Marcus and Lily have both had some hard moments (this is the latest in a long coincidental string of historical romances I’ve read that deal with child loss, and Lily’s mother is appalling) but there’s a spark of humour in so many scenes that acts like a pinch of salt in a dessert and just makes things much better. I wouldn’t call it a fluffy book exactly, but it’s on the lighter end of things – just a really nice time, if that makes sense. At times I wanted to bang Marcus and Lily’s heads together to make them realise they were perfect for each other when their chemistry was so good, but I think that comes with the territory for this trope!

This is quite a gentle read compared to the author’s work – no international travel or swashbuckling hero – but it’s a very enjoyable, satisfying love story, and really, that’s exactly what I’m looking for in historical romance. It’s definitely a great one to pick up if you’re looking for more takes on the sibling’s fiancé trope after watching series two of Bridgerton – four out of five cats!

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